Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia defended the signature climate and health care legislation Democrats hope to pass Sunday after Sen. Bernie Sanders criticized it in a speech Saturday night.
Mr. Sanders, who is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, took the floor on the Senate floor and criticized the legislation, calling it the “so-called Deflation Act” because the Congressional Budget Office said it would do little to combat the rising prices.
“I say so-called, by the way, because according to the CBO and other economic organizations, this bill will actually have little effect on inflation,” he said in a speech. Mr Sanders delivered the speech as he hoped to add amendments during the “vote-a-rama” where the Senate would vote on multiple amendments.
In response, many Republicans picked up on Mr. Sanders’ criticism that it had little effect on reducing inflation and even promoted it on the Republican National Committee’s investigative Twitter account.
Democrats hope to pass the legislation through a process called budget reconciliation, which allows Democrats to pass it with a simple majority since they only have 50 seats in the Senate. Vice President Kamala Harris would break the tie.
But Mr. Manchin defended the legislation when asked by The independent about Mr. Sanders’ criticisms.
“This is not Bernie’s bill. I understand that,” he said. “But it’s a bill that’s a huge bill that’s pretty well balanced. And I think I hope they do it in a positive way.”
Mr. Sanders specifically criticized the fact that the legislation would allow lease sales for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska and other provisions that he saw as a “handout” to the fossil fuel industry.
“Under this legislation, up to 60 million acre feet of public waters must be offered for sale each year to the oil and gas industry before the federal government can approve any new offshore wind development,” he said.
Mr. Manchin defended the provisions, saying how Mr. Sanders opposes fossil fuels.
“I do know one thing we have to have fossils for the next decade or so as we transition,” Mr. Manchin said. “Whenever that may happen, but the bottom line is you have to have the energy we need to run our country and on top of that, you have to have the investment for the new energy to get us down the road and that’s all we’re doing ” you do. It’s a balanced approach.”